While Batman's Away, Batwoman Takes Over At LastS

As all the boys fight over who gets to be the new Batman, the much-hyped Batwoman will finally get her day (well, year) in the sun this summer, as she takes over DC's longest-running series.

With Bruce Wayne "elsewhere" (and that's all DC is saying about that), 2009 will see its first lesbian superhero in its longest running book as Batwoman takes over Detective Comics. DC super-writer Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams will be taking over the reins of the flagship title for "at least" twelve issues. Although Batwoman is not the first openly gay character to star in a DC series – her former partner Renee Montoya is just finishing up starring in Final Crisis: Revelations, also written by Rucka – this does represent the most high profile title starring a gay superhero for the publisher.

Rucka's run will start this June as part of DC's massive month of Batman releases, with eight different titles hitting comic book stores. Joining the venerable Detective and Batman will be Red Robin, Batman and Robin, Outsiders, Batgirl, Gotham City Sirens, and Batman: Streets of Gotham.

Of course, all of this will be spinning out of this spring's Battle for the Cowl storyline, where various potential heirs will fight for the right to succeed Batman. At today's panel promoting the coming year of Batman comics, it was clear that everybody in the Batman family (except, you know…Batman) will have a huge role to play in the upcoming stories, including all three Robins, Batgirl, Catwoman, Knight and Squire, Damien, and characters from the late, lamented Gotham Central – because, as Greg Rucka explains, "He just can't keep himself away from [them]." There's one other returning person that will likely make Batman fans very happy, as the panel assured the fans that Batman: The Animated Series and Detective Comics scribe Paul Dini will be back in the near future.

And finally, Outsiders writer Pete Tomasi promised the Batman's most faithful friend will be getting his time in the sun. Alfred Pennyworth will feature in upcoming issues of the series where he will be "the eyes and ears" of the audience. Outsiders will explore the faithful Wayne family retainer's prior history, including his military experience, all as part of a larger plan to show Alfred can do more than simply get beaten up all the time. Or so he claims.